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The use and misuse of wealth according to St. John chrysostom

Kourtoubelides, Kleanthis Xenophon (1995) The use and misuse of wealth according to St. John chrysostom. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Today, when one is being constantly reminded that the cause of social justice is of the very essence of Christianity, it is important and helpful to reflect that this is not a new development in Christian teaching over the past hundred years, but has in fact solid roots in early Christian tradition. One of the strongest and most eloquent spokesmen for this demand for Christian responsibility and involvement in the issues of social justice is John Chrysostom, bishop, pastor, teacher and prophet in the Christian communities of Antioch and Constantinople in the latter part of the fourth century. By way of introduction, a brief survey of the Early Church’s attitude to wealth from its Gospel origins to the end of the third century is provided. Then follow three chapters: the first deals with the proper use of wealth, i.e. alms-giving and rich people as stewards of the poor. Chrysostom argued that some wealth is given by God to rich people, who in turn are to act as God’s stewards. Riches used in the service of other people are much more likely to be considered gifts from God while wealth that is ill-gotten or selfishly spent is usually thought to be permitted by God rather than specially provided. The second deals with Chrysostom's argument that rich people who abuse their wealth make the poor suffer. He observes says that their wealth is derived from dishonest business, the misfortune of others and taking interest on loans. Finally, in the third chapter, Chrysostom's teaching on the use and misuse of wealth in the light of the after-life are discussed. The third chapter also examines the arguments of those scholars who suggest that Chrysostom's works were either socialist or communist and concludes that they are neither.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1995
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:57

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